Located on the scenic banks of the Ashtamudi Lake, the Thevally palace was built in 1819 during the reign of Princess Gowri Parvati Bayi and is considered as one of the most popular monuments of Kerala’s cultural renaissance.
This heritage palace has a curious architectural design that is a mix of British, Dutch and Portuguese, who were also, interestingly the main foreign settlers in this region. This area was the capital of the erstwhile Travancore kingdom in those days and the Thevally palace was used as an official meeting ground with the British residents and for administrative purposes. Currently, this majestic building and its grounds are used for tourism purposes with its lush coconut groves, palm trees and a Lord Sastha temple within the palace grounds.
The entire building has a laterite and lime plastering to give the building a fine finishing that still looks so resplendent to this day. It also keeps the interiors of the palace cool during the hot summer season. Currently, the building is being used by the Indian army and maintained by the Public Works Department; tourists are only allowed at specific times of the day (9:30am to 5pm). Some parts of the palace are not open to the public however. Do note that you are not allowed to touch the walls or any other things within the palace interiors.
The majestic palace can be approached both by road as well as by an awesome boat ride through the picturesque Ashtamudi Lake. You can access the palace through the nearby NH47 which cuts through Kollam city as well as connects to Trivandrum which is also where the nearest airport is located.
Local tour operators have a day cruise package where you get to glide through the scenic Ashtamudi Lake and its numerous islands before reaching Thevally palace which is about 25km from the main Kollam city. Or you could even hire one of the majestic houseboats that come loaded with fully air-conditioned bedrooms, European bath and shower as well as a kitchen where freshly caught lake fish are prepared for your meals. A cruise would take you through the Thevally palace if you desire en route to Kerala’s famous backwaters.
The main features to look out for at the palace are its amazing architecture and beautiful interiors, its inspiring history as well as the lush lawns and wooded lands leading to the lake where you can spy the neighboring villages as well as catch inspiring views of the blue-green lake against the backdrop of the majestic blues of the sky. A great place for a family picnic, but do remember to dispose of your garbage responsibly.
There is a very romantic myth associated with this palace where a British resident living across the Ashtamudi Lake was believed to be in love with one of the ladies living in the palace. The main source of contact between the two was the British resident’s pet dog which used to carry their love-letters across the lake. One day the dog was found dead, though the reason behind its death has always been an unresolved mystery; a monument was eventually put up at the palace grounds in memory of the dog. The local guides are very fond of showing off this special memorial to the dog, a symbol of dedication of this faithful animal as well as the eternity of love.
The best time visit are during October through February – do make it a date!